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Elon Musk Warns AI Poses ‘Civilizational Risk’ to Humanity

Elon Musk, one of several tech tycoons who met lawmakers in Washington D.C. this week to discuss the burgeoning technology of AI, warned that intelligent machines have the potential to threaten all of human civilization.

The SpaceX and Tesla CEO joined Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Sam Altman and other leaders of the tech industry for a first-of-its-kind, private summit with Senators in D.C this week. The topic at hand: AI, and what to do about it.

“The consequences of AI going wrong are severe so we have to be proactive rather than reactive,” Musk told a press gaggle after attending what he called a “historic” meeting.

“The question is really one of civilizational risk. It’s not like … one group of humans versus another. It’s like, hey, this is something that’s potentially risky for all humans everywhere,” said Musk.

“There is some chance that is above zero that AI will kill us all. I think it’s low. But if there’s some chance, I think we should also consider the fragility of human civilization.”

The bipartisan meeting on Capitol Hill was hosted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sen. Martin Heidrich (D-NM), and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). A number of other Senators also attended the meeting.

Also at the meeting was Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, a key ally of the Democrat party.

“It was a very productive meeting. At first blush, you would think that given all the tech people that were there, their voices would be overwhelming,” Weingarten said. “There was a lot of consensus about how the safety needs are hugely important to really engage the innovation and that those two things go hand in hand.”


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